Kaiser Chiefs @ Haydock Park
The Indie kings from Leeds hit the stage on Friday, hot on the heels of the likes of Kylie and Madness. Haydock Park, where thousands of fans descended after a day of horse racing and drunken antics all presented in a slightly wrinkled, over exposed and vomit covered package.
The three time Brit winners were set to wow the crowd with expectations high for their third racecourse installment. With a year of no tours and no album this seems to be just for the fun with frontman Ricky Wilson wanting everyone to “go away thinking that’s the best gig they’ve ever seen”
Normally far too pop for me, I was curious as I shepherded the over excitable MR photographer, Cai, to the front of the stage to have a look at the layout. Excitement increased as it became clear the visibility all around the stage was set to be good and despite being told that photography had to be taken from the back platform (a long way from the stage) there seemed to be a photography pit ready and waiting!
Drama unfolds as the meeting point for the ‘togs remained lost, the landmark invisible and the three people offering directions sending us to three different locations and I am pretty sure I covered more miles than the damn horses. Finally we get to where we need to be as it unfolds that the meeting point is hidden behind the bloody great big burger van catering to the grease fuelled cravings of the alcohol soaked hordes. Going our separate ways, I bimble over to the stage area unaware of my poor photographers nightmare unfolding before his star filled eyes.
Slightly late the chief’s amble on stage, a rather wobbly looking Ricky, bouncing around like a smartie fuelled toddler ramping up the audience.
“They tell me this is the rowdiest racecourse in Britain….I don’t want you to prove them wrong” bellows Ricky and of course they don’t.
As the sun held strong to make it a truly glorious evening they thundered their way through a 17- strong set This Is The Angry Mob, Ruffians on Parade and Never Miss a Beat pumped up the atmosphere as the soaked up the music.
Blending the old and new, musically the set was a smooth flowing offering that coordinated with the setting well, the band performed excellently keeping then energy high throughout. Ricky, however, well, I am afraid that Everyday I Love Him Less and Less. The shouting and screaming, half cut, into the camera quickly became irritating. The energy certainly waned as he took to sitting on the amps halfway through a few songs before embracing the real toddler leanings as he threw a tantrum with a seemingly non-working amp attempting, feebly I might add, to lob it across the stage. Rolling my eyes I wonder if there is a spare naughty step is available as he clearly needs a time out.
As the gig continues a rather harried Cai comes back, steam coming out of his ears, as he attempts to explain the drama that has unfolded. Photographers seemingly picked at random to enter the pit, others ignored, forbidden to actually shoot from the platform instead being stuck on the back lower level – do they actually want this gig photographed?
Pushing this to one side for now, we continue to listen as some of the classics are pulled out of the bag, mini dancing circles are formed, arms lift higher and the screams get louder for Ruby, Modern Way and the inimitable I Predict a Riot. The energy and enthusiasm is picked up again as Ricky finds a second wind to end the show managing to squeeze in a, surprisingly, good cover of Pinball Wizard.
Closing with Oh My God it may not have been a glitzy, glam affair but the outdoor, festival vibe was a perfect fit. The last notes rang out into the air, confetti cascading from the stage as Ricky engaged giant party poppers showering the crowd.
A good gig, for sure and most definitely an experience I enjoyed but I felt let down by the, at times, shambolic, front man presentation. This however was not necessarily echoed by others, the buzz still ablaze from the crowd as we all left the ground. This buzz did however quickly fade to a dull hum as we all attempted to find our cars. 20 minutes of wandering round in a semi strategic formation, countless visions of men peeing up coaches and a surprising x rated car hood performance by a middle aged couple. I find my car and flee. My eyes, my poor fucking eyes.
Words: Kat Hilton | Photos: Cai Dixon